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'Record' 3,738 young abuse victims supported by charity as demand soars

A Peterborough-based charity provided 'historic' number of counselling support to more than 3,700 young abuse victims over the past year.
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Embrace Child Victims of Crime has provided services to more children and families in the past year than in any time in its 30-year history following its expansion of remote counselling services. 

The children’s charity, which has its headquarters in Peterborough, supported 3,738 children and families in the past year to overcome the trauma caused by crime - 1,024 more than the previous year. 

Simon Bailey, Chair of Trustees for Embrace Child Victims of Crime and former Chief Constable of Norfolk Police, said: “Embrace’s work with families is life-changing. The charity continues to develop the kind of services that make a real difference to children and families across the country, helping them to deal with what’s happened and giving them the confidence and strategies to move forwards with their lives. 

“Just as importantly, our services give young people the skills and the knowledge to help prevent future victimisation, minimising the potential for further harm.  

“Over the next 12 months our focus will be on reaching a much wider audience so we can help more children heal from the harm caused by crime and reach their full potential.” 

Embrace offered 50% more services to those families including online and telephone emotional support, practical packages to alleviate hardship caused by crime and fun theme park days out as part of its unique recovery services tailored to meet each child’s individual needs. 

More than one in four of the children and families who have accessed Embrace CVoC’s services in the past year have been affected by domestic abuse (1,848) and more than a quarter (1,139) were affected by sexual abuse or assault. 

The charity also provided Christmas gifts of choice for 1,463 children thanks to the generosity of its supporters and over 1,000 theme park tickets to families harmed by crime through its partnership with the Merlin’s Magic Wand charity. 

Anne Campbell, chief executive of Embrace CVoC, said: “Covid-19 has been an horrendous experience for many children and families who, because of lockdown restrictions, suffered horrific domestic abuse. However, the pandemic also allowed us to accelerate our plans to offer therapeutic support remotely so that these families could get the emotional and practical support they so desperately needed no matter where they were based in the country. 

“This has been extremely well received and we are now delivering far greater levels of counselling support - both trauma-informed emotional support and trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy counselling - all coordinated through our national contact centre. 

“This kind of support – organised via careful triage and pre-arranged sessions set up to suit the child or young person – has been invaluable as we know many young people just want to talk to someone who is not their parent, teacher or close friend. 

“Our services are confidential, free and prioritise the needs of the child above all else. We also have the capacity to step up the service for the child if they need more in-depth counselling. We have received fantastic feedback from families receiving our services who tell us what an enor-mous difference we have made to their lives.” 

The emotional support services have been designed to be delivered over the telephone or video calls to reach children harmed by crime across the country. Specially-trained volunteers deliver the support alongside Embrace’s emotional support therapeutic team to enable the charity to reach more children than ever before. 

This is good news for young crime victims who may have been forced to wait for support from other organisations because the pandemic has led to the demand for emotional support and counselling far exceeding the availability of it. 

Embrace CVoC takes referrals for its services from police, teachers and other safeguarding professionals but also encourages families to self-refer through the charity’s website. The charity also runs an Instagram account specifically for young people @chat2embrace to encourage young people to refer themselves for support. 

To find out more visit their website or call the national contact centre on 0345 60 999 60 between 10am and 4pm from Monday to Friday.